January 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
5 years ago

South Carolina Republican regrets 'stray animal' metaphor

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer poses with actor Tom Cruise at a NASCAR race last year.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer poses with actor Tom Cruise at a NASCAR race last year.

(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, under fire for drawing a comparison between needy people and "stray animals," said Monday that he regrets his choice of words.

In a phone interview with CNN, Bauer, a Republican candidate for governor, said, "I wish I had used a different metaphor." Bauer told an audience Friday that people receiving government assistance are like "stray animals" because "they breed" and "don't know any better."

"I never intended to tie people to animals," he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: "If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?"

Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals."

But Bauer said he is committed to finding ways to end the "culture of dependency" created by government assistance. He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing or be mandated to attend parent-teacher conferences. Efforts at self-improvement, such as job-training or earning a high school equivalency degree, should be rewarded.

Otherwise, he argued, people will just sit at home waiting for a government check. He called that a "systemic problem."

"If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem," he said. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."

Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. He said he is only telling hard truths that have been swept under the rug for decades and called for a "mature discussion" about welfare in South Carolina. He said he has spoken about the issue for months, and not once has a voter objected.

"That's part of being a leader," he said. "Politicians stand up and give eloquent speeches that make you feel good, but they don't do anything about it." Referencing President Obama, Bauer said: "That's why we have some of the problems we have in this country today."

Bauer has also been rumored to have considered switching races to run for Congress in South Carolina's first congressional district, a seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Brown. "I am not running for Henry Brown's seat," he said.


Filed under: Andre Bauer • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (573 Responses)
  1. Pam

    Imagine if a Democrat had said that. "people on government assistance BREED because they don't know any different". He is trying to wiggle out of this obsene comment with lame excuses. I think we all knew what he meant. Republicans are not known for their sympathy for people who need help from the government. They need to realise that in these times a lot of people are just a few short steps from needing assistance from the government thanks to the Republicans..

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. John

    South Carolina Republican regrets 'stray animal' metaphor

    Every once in a while a Republican accidentally acknowledges what everyone already knows: The GOP is all about racism, elitism and greed.

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Free Thinker

    great – another idiot for SC governor!

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    INFO: 61% OF WHITES ARE ON WELFARE AND 33% BLACKS ARE ON WELFARE.

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Greg Smith

    The problem is that the republicans keep on breeding this same bigotry rather than doing anything to change the culture. Typical blame the victim mentality. Politicians should have to take drug tests if anybody does. Some the things they say can only be drug induced.

    January 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. MOUFASI

    My God...did he really say that?

    January 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. richp the poconos

    While it may not be politically correct to say so the number of increasing children to those collecting welfare is legion, it's a method of getting a pay raise.

    January 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. jane

    Unbelievable remark.

    January 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Mississippi Mrs.

    Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Many people resent the people who milk the system for assistance and there is much fraud that steals from the really poor. All in all it gives many southerners a bad sterotype of people on Government assistance.

    But for the grace of God, any of us could be at rock bottom. He should really consider his racist views, and take a pro-active stance to make it up by positive actions for the truly needy. He should roll up his sleeves and get dirty and make a difference.

    January 25, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Perhaps people could take a few lessons from animals, about how to behave.

    January 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Beverly - NYC

    Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. I sure the one that do are confortable in white sheets and hoods. Monorities are not the only ones on welfare, receipients come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Don't backtrack now Lt Gov, you have shown the true darkness of your heart. It now clear why the state governement prefer an AWOL love sick governor over you.

    January 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Dem for Life

    What an idiot – typical GOP statement and then an apology for saying what he really meant and felt. Sad case

    January 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Well, the corporate jet set does seem to go out of town often. They are visitng their friends in their home land, "the Global Corporate Nation" and do not want to be concerned about caring for us house pets.

    January 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. NotFooledTX

    Seems to me he meant exactly what he said, in exactly the manner he expressed it.

    What's wrong with the people in the state of SouthCarolina?

    January 25, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. A Guy

    ha ha, way to alienate millions of people, dude. This will get you plenty of votes, from rich people.

    January 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. BillW

    Apparently Bauer has some compassion for animals, it is just people he is against. Why doesn't he just get a got job that does envolve dealing with people!

    bw

    January 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Skeeve

    Yes.. it "is not against animals".. it is "against people". Old republican "blame the victim" routine. The ignorance of these people is simply beyond believe. ON the other hand.. it is not ignorance it is very calculated appeal to the ignorance of general populace.

    January 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Molly Weasley

    He needs to do more than "regret" the statement. He needs to drop out of this race. That is the most despicable thing we've heard in politics in a long time.

    But this, of course, is the sentiment of today's Republican Party. And this guy refers to himself as a Christian. Maybe he never bothered to read Matthew 25?

    January 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. 8 Years of the Bush Error = Recession and Record Unemployment for ? Years.

    Wow, now we all know what cons and the teabaggers really stand for, death to those less fortunate.

    WWJD?

    If you are poor in America, let you starve to death.

    Nice, republiklans, this is great display of your "family values" and NOT one of you have repudiated this "christian".

    What is next from you NAZI's, stations where newborn welfare babies can be put to sleep immediately after they are born? Or should they just be allowed to starve to death.

    And you call yourselves "pro-life" and "christians", your beneath contempt.

    January 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Danny

    I don't understand why they say they're sorry for comments like these. It's true! They breed like bunnies, and just create more poor people for us to feed. If they had any brain power at all they would say "Ok my life as a poor person on welfare sucks, I better not have a child so they have to suffer too" One of these days someone will wake up from this "PC" nightmare we live in and start telling it like it is.

    January 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. reason

    what an idiot. he just did it again. people like this should not even hold public office. he's not even doing a mediocre job of hiding the fact that he thinks poor people are scum. this guy should be put in a cage and fed dog food once a day for a few months. he'll understand animals better and have plenty of time to sit and think about himself as a person.

    January 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Dan Holiday

    For a party that is supposed to be all inclusive Democrats sure HATE and have NO tolerance of the following (and I have compiled these from reading postings on the ticker):

    1. Christians
    2. Women (especially the Palins and Clintons)
    3. White people
    4. Hetero-sexuals
    5. People who didn't go to college
    6. Anyone from the South
    7. Anyone with differing points of view
    8. Anyone who is successful
    9. People that pay their own way....and
    10. People who are part of the Tea Party movement.

    Wow. That is a lot of HATE and INTOLERANCE from the party of the PEOPLE...lol. Way to go Dems. Way to show your true colors.

    January 25, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. normajean

    The mouth was going but the brain had stopped. That seems to be a bit prevalent in the Republican camp.These people are noted for stepping on their own tongues.In this case it shows just what they are really thinking.Actually, one of the problems with the Repubs is that, while they have what they need, they don't care a hoot about people that don't. Many of the citizens that are hurting today, had good jobs and were doing just fine until the last administration screwed everything up and millions lost what they had worked hard for all their lives. Toy know and they know, but they don't care.

    January 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Frank Tillery

    Sorry folks.

    He is right.

    We are animals.

    Look it up.

    Still, he needs a little lesson in statistics where he would learn that the majority of people in the United States who receive government assistance are not people of color.

    Frank Tillery – One of U.S.

    January 25, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. vwrtb

    All hail to the mighty corporations! Or gods who we worship! Maybe we can ask Nike and Levis how to create domestic jobs... fascist republicans have all the answers! Get with it dems and join the 4th Reich!

    January 25, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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